Key Stage 4 Information Technology Curriculum Intent
Business, Computing and Finance Department Curriculum Intent
The department believes that every student, regardless of their prior academic achievement, has the potential to make a valid, profitable contribution to society – and that our subjects have a crucial part to play in preparing them to do so. We also believe that, as the world of work changes, the courses we offer should reflect and embrace the economic and commercial environment – both local and national - into which our students will be required to – and will want to - effectively function and to excel.
Overall, in Business and Computing, our current curriculum intent is to support whole-school outcomes in terms of building character and resilience, thus effectively preparing students for further/higher education and/or entry into the workplace or entrepreneurship and to deliver structured, high-quality, effectively targeted and engaging learning sequences that enable all students to make good progress and achieve aspirational outcomes.
In Business and Computing, our objectives are:
To continually improve academic outcomes, progress and a lifelong love of learning for all of our students and, in particular, for DA, SENK and HPA students
To prepare all of our students with a broad, balanced academic and practically useful curriculum, and develop key aspects of their character, to support progression into the workplace or further/higher education
To be a leading hub for outstanding pedagogical practice and enterprise in and through learning.
By the time students reach the end of Key Stage 4 we want students to know:
In Enterprise, we want students to know how to plan an enterprise activity, including market research, planning, carrying out financial transactions, communication and problem solving; the features and characteristics of enterprises and entrepreneurs, and the internal and external factors that can affect the performance of an enterprise; the attitudes and ways of working that are considered most important for enterprise, including monitoring and reflecting on performance of an enterprise idea and own use of skills.
In Digital IT, we want students to know the principles of project planning, designing and creating user interfaces and creating dashboards to present and interpret data; the processes that underpin effective working in IT such as the iterative design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct; aspects including how different user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues.
By the time they reach the end of Key Stage 4 we want both Enterprise and Digital IT students to be able to apply skills such as analysing research, interpreting information, planning and financial analysis and forecasting, communicating, problem solving, project planning, effective design, using and manipulating data and drawing conclusions from data; reflect on their practice through the development of skills and techniques that allow learners to respond to feedback and identify areas for improvement, and make strong, carefully structured judgements based on analysis and effective synthesis of source data.
In addition, by the time students reach the end of Key Stage 5, we want students to acquire knowledge of and be able to make effective judgements in relation to personal and business finance scenarios, plan an event and reflect on its success, evaluate the importance and context of international business, analyse and discuss the recruitment and selection process of large organisations, investigate and develop training programmes in a given context and apply management, leadership and motivation theory to a range of contexts.
By the time students reach the end of Key Stage 5 we want students to know:
In Business Studies, we want students to know how to research different businesses, their purpose, aims & objectives, stakeholders and their needs, the external environment and enterprise. Students also study business finance, management, human resources and event planning. As part of the units they study they investigate leadership and management within different organisations and apply this to a controlled assessment.
As part of the LIBF course students study a wide range of topics related to financial capability in the short, medium, and long term. Students develop skills that will aid their financial literacy in the future with topics including credit cards, mortgages and budgeting.
Sequence and Structure of the Business, Computing and Finance Department Curriculum
The Business and Computing long-term planning process, in common with the rest of the school, starts by considering the end points of where we want our students to be by the time they leave us, ensuring coherence and a clear structure runs throughout the learning journey. In a similar vein, medium term plans begin with end points and how and what should be assessed to capture students’ learning. Units of work in Key Stage 3, therefore, are designed to provide opportunities to work towards these ‘end goals’, either through the acquisition of knowledge or skills against which their performance will be assessed at the end of Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, as well as to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum.
The department is in the third year of the process of implementing a 5 year plan which builds on the skills needed for the BTEC Level 2 Tech Award qualifications (Enterprise and DIT) from year 7.
In Key Stage 3, students complete, each term, units of work that provide a grounding in all aspects of the Computing National Curriculum, as well as aspects of information technology (IT) and digital responsibility. In keeping with the BTEC assessment model, it is based generally on the ‘levels of response’ approach though, as is the case with the new suite of BTEC qualifications, summative assessment sometimes takes the form of ‘exam-style’ questions. This is intended to prepare students specifically for the externally assessed aspects of the Level 2 courses.
In Key Stages 4, students that have opted to do so have three lessons of Enterprise and/or Digital IT each week. From 2019, students complete externally assessed units prior to completing the two units of coursework. In Key Stage 5, students that have the choice between a single or double Business qualification. Students will have either 5 or 10 lessons of Business a week depending on the option they have chosen. Students studying the single business will complete two units of internally assessed coursework, one externally assessed exam and one externally assessed controlled assessment and those studying the double will take two externally assessed exams, one externally assessed controlled assessment and five internally assessed units of coursework. Students in Key Stage 5 can also take Finance as well alongside their business qualification. This is a course run by LIBF and students complete the Certificate in Year 12 and the Diploma in Year 13. Students complete 4 externally assessed exams each year to receive their final grade.
Opportunities for Memory, Recall and Retention
The department makes frequent use of ‘Do Now’ and plenary activities, often focused on examination-style or problem-solving activities to embed knowledge covered in earlier sessions. This interleaving of knowledge and understanding, alongside carefully chosen, accessible and engaging exemplars helps students to retain and recall key information.
Students are encouraged to produce revision materials and the department has a strong focus on examination skills, including formulating answers to extended questions, and has developed a range of exemplar materials to support this. This is reinforced every lesson by the classroom teacher through extensive questioning to ensure all students have accessed the lesson content.
Meeting the Needs of Students
The department takes appropriate steps to support the needs of SEN and DA students, making effective use of TAs (where available) and implementing classroom strategies such as the use of computers, differentiation tactics and one to one support/OSL opportunities to further this.
We encourage and support students to become independent in their learning – and the vocational courses our students follow in Key Stage 4 and 5 have been selected, in part, to provide for this. Resources are carefully selected and frequently reviewed to ensure that they provide engaging and challenging learning opportunities for students. Exemplar materials are provided for students working at the full range of levels of attainment.
The department uses the techniques adopted across the school to improve engagement and focus on the needs of and improved outcomes for disadvantaged (DA) students. DA students’ work is assessed frequently and questioning on the basis of ‘DA first’ is a frequently-used tactic. Questioning is also carefully planned to ensure that HPA students are challenged, using tools such as Bloom’s Taxonomy.
National Curriculum Coverage (in relation to Computing only)
From 2020 all students in Key Stage 3 will receive one lesson of Computing per week for three terms. Over three years, students cover the six key pathways (algorithms, programming and development, data/data representation, hardware and processing, communication and networks and information technology (including digital responsibility). Embedded within these pathways are frequent opportunities for students to apply the computational thinking concepts of abstraction, decomposition, algorithmic thinking, evaluation and generalisation and assessment intervals reflect this.
In Key Stage 4, students may opt to pursue the BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology. Within this course, students have ample opportunity to develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology during the completion of two coursework projects that require them to design and develop IT solutions for given problems. These project also require students to develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving and design skills – and, to some extent, their computational thinking skills. In addition, the external assessment for the course focuses on the changing nature of technology and its impact on society, as well as the ways users and organisations can secure their systems, protect online privacy and identify and report a range of concerns.
Cultural Capital, British values, PSCHE and Careers Guidance
Throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, aspects of SMSC and British Values are embedded and have been signposted in termly Medium Term Plans (MTPs). Specifically, in terms of SMSC and British values, the courses offered provide numerous opportunities for students to develop:
SP2: Sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them.
SP3: Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
SP4: A willingness to reflect on their experiences
MO1: Ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England;
MO2: Understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions; MO3: Interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues
BV2: An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety.
In terms of careers (GATSBY), courses offered include several opportunities/experiences including guest speakers, real case study materials reflecting genuine business and organisational scenarios and these continue to be developed. Where the subjects contribute to the achievement of GATSBY benchmarks, this has been indicated in medium-term planning.